Nature Weaving

Weaving is an artistic process that has strong traditional roots for many people around the world and is not only a method of making clothing, blankets and other household goods, but also conveys stories of culture and values. Weaving is also a super engaging activity for young kids. To introduce kids to weaving all you need is a few household materials and objects from nature.

This activity is featured in our Tinkergarten Home Spring Creativity series. Not yet signed up? Click here to sign up or to try a free Tinkergarten Home lesson.

The Guide

Step 1: Set up your “loom.” 

The simplest “loom” we’ve made takes just cardboard and some rubber bands or tightly tied string. Simply cut cardboard into a rectangular shape. Cut small slits every inch or so around the edge. Then, work with kids to put 6-10 rubber bands around the cardboard, slotting them into the slits so they don’t easily come off and snap fingers (ouch!). If you don’t have rubber bands, tie pieces of string tightly around the cardboard in place of the bands.

In Tinkergarten classes, we’ve used recycled fishing nets to create giant looms on which kids can make collaborative weaving projects—so much fun! If you can find them in a craft store or online, they are marvelous! Just weave a dowel or stick through the top and bottom to add a frame and hang from a tree or other structure.

If you have access to one in your outdoor spaces, a chainlink fence can also make a marvelous loom!

Step 2: Collect weaving materials.

Wonder together what objects you could find outside to add to your loom. Discuss, then head out to collect materials together. Try to find materials that kids can easily bend, such as flowers and leaves with stems, and small sticks. You can also offer some household materials like ribbon, yarn, fabric scraps and pipe cleaners.  

Step 4: Bend and weave!

Model for kids how to bend and weave objects between the bands or strings on the loom. Let kids work at their own pace and weave to their own heart’s content. Try to remember that it’s the process of gathering and adding things that matters, not how marvelous the final product is. 

Give kids lots of space and time on this one. Kids may want to collect a whole bunch of objects, then do some weaving. They may want to collect-weave-collect-weave. Or, they may transition to other activities after a short while. If you can, leave the loom out for kids to come back to—this kind of activity often builds over time.

Want more activities like this? Try out our Wrap It Up DIY or our Play Like Spiders DIY.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Weaving is a super engaging activity for kids and also supports kids’ fine-motor, focus, persistence and problem solving skills, all while moving the body and engaging so many different senses. Weaving also gives kids practice in the creative acts of bending and blending. Just as kids use their looms to bend various objects into their looms, in our brains, we bend concepts, stretching and reshaping them as we create.

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